Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp practiced for the first time this preaseason Friday after an emergency appendectomy on Sept. 12 sidelined him at training camp.
"It's always good to kind of rejoin the team," said Sharp, who had on-ice conditioning after practice. "I've done my best to hang around the guys and watch practice, the inter-squad games and all that. But it's not quite the same when you're not participating in drills, so I felt good.
"As far as my return, I wish I could give you a date. It's really something that's day-to-day. I've felt better every 24 hours since the surgery, a noticeable difference. If that continues, I'd like to think I can play pretty soon."
Coach Joel Quenneville said Sharp won't play in the Hawks' final preseason game Sunday against the Capitals in Washington. Sharp said he's supposed to take it relatively easy with skating and shooting because he still has stitches, "but I feel fine out there, there's not limitations. Hopefully, I can play soon."
The goal is still opening night, Oct. 7 against the Dallas Stars.
"I'd like to play [Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins] if I could," Sharp said. "It's just passing tests. You guys know it's a process. Every injury you have to take the right steps. My hands are tied, but we've got good doctors and good coaches, they'll make the right decision."